MERZBOW Scumtron (Blast First) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Not just another Merzbow noise-blast disc, this is a remix compilation that lets folks like, among others, Jim O'Rourke, Panasonic, Autechre, Bernhard Gunter, and Masami Akita himself, take the noise and create something perhaps more obviously structured with it. As such, it's pretty interesting, and if you're not going to buy all 2,000 Merzbow releases this year, this one at least should be considered. In fact, even if you weren't going to buy *any* Merzbow this year or any other year, "Scumtron" might still be for you. Certainly fans of Panasonic-style beat-cruch won't be disappointed.
MERZBOW Senmaida (Blossoming Noise) cd 14.98
I really don't need to listen to any more Merzbow records in my life, as several years back I (Jim) took the task of enduring the entire Merzbox (all 50 CDs of monstrous, punishing noise.) Yet month after month, Masami Akita continues to churn out extraordinary records from his battery of noise machines. With the roll of the die cast in my direction, I strap myself in for some raw aural brutality. Senmaida stands out immediately with its galloping drum machine breakbeat that precedes the virulant boils of his signature seering noise, giving Merzbow a legitimate noise grooviness previously held by Christine 23 Onna and Aufgehoben No Process. The beat itself starts out a little stiff, which is not surprising as Akita-san is not really known to get down and boogie; but when the noise machines begin to explode with their volcanic psychedelia of molten noise, the breakbeat takes a step back and actually forms an excellent counterpoint to the noise. Out of this rhythm (which come to think of it really does sound like a Garage Band preset, ha!), our noise hero lays down several lumbering industrial loops of a percolated squiggle alternated with a menacing plod, out of which comes the shredding noise and a post-Neubauten metal bashed rhythm. And oh, yeah there's a track built out of a sample of a sheep's bleating which oozes with the danse macabre of Alec Empire. Be prepared to be impressed by Senmaida!
"Tract 1" MPEG Stream:
MERZBOW Sha Mo 3000 (Essence Music) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another Merzbow. Another Circle. Another Acid Mothers Temple. It's like these bands are just daring us. Taunting us. But at least in the case of these three bands, they keep winning. We're all ready to unleash a "Who the fuck needs more of..." and they hit us with a record that kicks ass. Again. Which is fine. There will always be plenty of records deserving of a "Who the fuck needs more of...", we'd much rather hear more great music. And Sha Mo 3000 is pretty great. Admittedly, Merzbow has sort of painted himself into a corner with his straight noise records, as the noise crowd is pretty limited and noise as a genre and sound has existed pretty much unchanged for 2 or 3 decades. And there are only so many ways you can record and produce white/pink noise. But occasionally Merzbow will step out of his Japanoise persona and surprise us, and let non-noise folks in for a peek. Well, Sha Mo 3000 is NOT one of those records. Nope. This is definitely a noise record. Continuing in his exploration of the lap top, Merzbow contiues to punish and destroy. Thankfully, his sonic palette is much expanded by his shift to computer and years of noise has seemingly helped him understand the need for dynamics. Thus we have a very sonically engaging, very dynamic noise record. The sounds are amazing, grinding and throbbing, pounding and hissing, notes and melodies may be present, but they've been squeezed and stretched and tangled up into impossible shapes, which makes this record absolutely fascinating. Listening to it, I found myself not really "listening to a record", but sort of navigating a treacherous labyrinth, where around any corner could be a potentially dangerous spike of white noise or blast of barbed fuzz. Like a musical Indiana Jones. A very challenging, very satisfying listen, but only for the truly brave or those who consider noise to be their friend.
"Suzunami" MPEG Stream:
"Ghost Hide Your Eyes"
MERZBOW Timehunter (Ant-Zen) 4x3"cd 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Merzbow must have a thing for office supplies. The 50 cd Merzbox didn't come in some crazy custom designed box or wrapped in human flesh or anything like that. It was in a regular old Case Logic cd carrying case. The kind you keep in your car. So it came as no surprise that this new four 3" cd set comes in a day planner. Yep. Like the kind your Mom scheduled your soccer games in when you were 12. Granted, the name and title are silkscreened in silver on the front. But it's still a regular old day planner. Inside are a calendar, much like...well, like a day planner, although the design is a little more sleek and stylish. And the occasional day is filled in with stuff to do. Although the stuff to do reads: 4:34/65#//32 or something like that. But it's all part of the concept. Time. Get it? The four 3" discs are mounted nicely (and securely, thankfully) on two pages of the calendar. We were super excited to hear this because supposedly the samples are from 70's hard rock bands like Golden Earring, Spontaneous Combustion and the like. Coupled with fierce breakbeats and mutated into walls of guitar drone. Yeah, sounds great doesn't it? Well, it is pretty great, but I don't think it necessarily sounds like it was described. It's definitely more dynamic than the majority of Merzbow releases (dynamics was, to me, always Merzbow's main failing) but it's not nearly as wall of guitar sounding as the recent "24 Hours - A Day Of Seals" 4cd set which definitely channelled the spirt of Skullflower or Earth, it actually reminds us way more of the recent "Merzbeat" cd we reviewed several lists back with some almost-danceable beats, and lots of murky rhythms and pulses. But there ARE moments of heaviness although they aren't necessarily heavy the way you might envision when you hear the word heavy along side the idea of samples of 70's hard rock. It's more like thick, corrosive waves of sound, that very well could've been guitars or something else organic at some point, but have shrugged off their mortal coils and became MERZ-sounds. Good stuff. Nice to see there's still some new ideas and new directions to be explored even after 152,342 releases. This definitely ranks as some of the more interesting/appealing Merzbow and it's certainly worth a listen. Especially if you're also in the market for a kind of expensive daily planner.
"Warhorse" MPEG Stream:
MERZBOW Tumeric (Blossoming Noise) 4-cd 36.00
MERZBOW & OREN AMBARCHI Cat's Squirrel (Black Truffle) lp 28.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
MERZBOW / AMM split (Fat Cat) 12" 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The latest in this high profile series of split 12"s. Merzbow is at his most melodic, coming up with an almost hummable bit of white noise. The AMM side is all rhythm, primarily beautifully meandering chimes and bells.
MERZBOW / BASTARD NOISE (Release) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Split cd between Japan's prolific master of noise and the noiser side of California "power violence" heroes Man Is The Bastard. Very nice packaging, by the way.
MERZBOW / MATSUNAGA KOUHEI split (Tigerbeat6) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Split disc between two noise giants from Japan via Kid 606's Tigerbeat6 imprint. Masami Akita furthers his explorations in the digital domain, appropriating the tranquil somniloquisms of Olivier Messiaen's "Mode De Valeurs Et D'intensite Pour Piano" and transmutating it into the unique extremity that is Merzbow. The Kouhei tracks are slightly more rhythmic, though somewhat static, DHR-style beat destruction. You might recall his work from the "Upside Down" release on Mille Plateaux to which Merzbow as well as Masonna contributed.
MERZBOW "Nakesendow" RealAudio clip:
MATSUNAGA KOUHEI "Garden Of Earthly Delights (Center)"
MERZBOW / PAN SONIC V (Victo) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. When is a Noise Record (tm) not a noise record. Well, 'V' is definitely not going to answer that question, because this is unequivocally, without a doubt, a noise record. Most of this sounds like vintage Merzbow. Shards of white noise and digital skree, sheets of feeding back effects processors, a mighty wall of head crushing sound. Good stuff, but nothing we haven't heard a thousand times before. Good thing Pan Sonic were on hand to mix things up a little. But only a little. No real rhythms or beats to be found, but Pan Sonic's rhythmic tendencies do come to the surface about 2/3 of the way through this hour long performance with pulses of white hot static and crunchy digital throbs, but ultimately they quickly dissipate and fade back into the thick wash of this Noise Record (tm).
MERZBOW / THE GUILT OF... split (Chrome Peeler Records) lp 14.98
MERZBOW VS NORDVARGR Partikel (Cold Spring) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Merzbow may be prolific to the point of no return by now, and so you may scoff at yet another release (that makes what, 10 so far this year?) but don't pass this one up. All of us around here have been mildly obsessed with Swedish ambient / noise / drone technician Nordvargr, from his days in the dark-ambient-in black-metal's-clothing outfit MZ412 to his later militaristic folk ensembles Toroidh and Folkstorm. Strangely these two noiseniks make the perfect combination, Japanoise meets Scandanavian power electronics and the result is a crushing slab of low end doom drone dirge. Merzbow created the source material for Nordvargr to process in his inimitably grim fashion. Three lengthy tracks. The first is a spine tinglingly creepy and gut churningly, ominously oppresive rumbling glitchy throb, crumbling slabs of low end over sinister whir and brittle crackling skeletal beats like the scary parts of Tron, or the part in some demonic anime snuff film when you first discover the true face of evil. Track two turns crushing ambient sludge into HUGE crunchy stuttering beats, not just block rocking beats, but beats that flatten entire neighborhoods like Autechre or Aphex twin jamming with Sunn 0))), spare and skittery, wandering through a precarious landscape of hissing blasts of Japanoise and keening squalls of high end iridescence. The final track is clicky, glitchy, haunting almost-IDM filtered through the noxious fumes of demon's breath and dipped in boiling pitch. ominous and frighteningly lovely. One of the best noise / sludge / drone / slow-motion-dance-music-for-demons record of the year!
MERZBOW VS NORDVARGR Partikel II (Cold Spring) cd 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. **SALE **SALE* *SALE** The long awaited second installment in the who-knows-how-many-parts Partikel series, which features a collaboration between AQ fave Swedish dark ambient, militant folk, black metal noise technician Nordvargr (Toroidh, MZ412, Folkstorm, Goatvargr, HH9, etc...) and Japanese noise legend Masami Akita aka Merzbow. Strange bedfellows maybe, but the results here, as on the first installment, are pretty mind-blowing. Akita generated the sounds, Nordvargr took those sounds and twisted them into completely new forms, the result some strange noise/drone/rhythm hybrid that is WAY more listenable than it has any right to be. The opener sets the tone, a twenty minute crumbling distorted noisescape, like bits of old Merzbow records all chopped up and assembled again Frankenstein's monster fashion, that veers from full on near-metallic crunch, to strange skittery almost IDM, but even at it's calmest, the track is still rife with strange sounds and damaged FX, bursts of harsh noise surfacing here and there amidst an alien landscape of stutters and shuffles, of creaks and squeaks, almost like a black metal Mouse On Mars if one could even imagine such a thing. The second track sounds heavier on the Nordvargr than the Merzbow, a rumbling shimmering low end, that creeps and drifts before splintering briefly into another rhythmic glitchscape, just as quickly transforming into a buzzing snarling fuzzed out drone, thick and corrosive, subtly rhythmic, but intense and crackling with energy. Deep cavernous tones swell in the background, while above the blurry buzz, strange crunchy electronic pulses mark out a simple static rhythm. The third track is Part 2 to the opener's Part 1, and takes the openers skitter to a much meaner, much harsher place, a swirling high end cloud of hissing static and keening sine waves, over a relentlessly pulsing backdrop, that changes pitch, and tempo, stuttering and hiccuping, creating a gorgeously confusional rhythmscape, eventually breaking into a near-groove, a loping downtempo slither, but still wrapped in all manner of electronic detritus and squalls of fuzz and crackle and whir. The closer winds things down with more of a whisper than a scream, the glitchy rhythms are still present, but they are ultra minimal, skeletal, almost like shortwave interference, beneath a tidal swirl of murk and blur, a dark ambient buzz that stretches lazily into long expanses of slow shifting sounds. Over the course of the track, little bits of melody surface here and there, the rhythms get more agitated before drifting back beneath the surface, and mysterious voices surface amidst sparkling sonic glimmers and moaning ambient rumble, a dreamy dark ambient coda to an intense slab of droning skittering buzz and crunch, shimmer and swirl. Partikel II is IDM for the demon set, a blackened noise drenched skitter, an abstract metallic free-electronica, and a definite droney dancefloor filler, that is if you want your dancefloor filled with shuffling zombies, growling beasts and unspeakable denizens of the underworld... And who doesn't?!
"Reakt 1" MPEG Stream:
MESA RITUAL s/t (Sige) lp 30.00
One truism gleaned from any given Cormac McCarthy novel is that the desert is a good place to dump a body. The lore about the desert outside of Las Vegas makes the claim for shallow graves dotting the landscape as the handiwork of mobsters and psychos. There's probably some truth to that; but at the same time, the land also holds a sacred beauty to many of the citizens who live in such environments and respect that land not only for the desert beauty bloom but also the simple fact that the desert can kill you and swallow you up without much of trace left behind. William Fowler Collins and Raven Chacon make their homes in New Mexico; and they draw heavily on the atmospheres, ghosts, and general vibes of the desert for their Mesa Ritual collaboration. Collins is a character who we've championed over the years for his hauntingly morose drone-works; and Chacon - a member of the Dine' nation - has performed in various guises over the years, including the brutalist black noise project Kilt. Every track minus one, produced for Aaron Turner's Sige Records, is a numbered "Procession", alluding to an animistic, ritualized vision quest for Mesa Ritual, with their accompanying soundtrack building from crunched low-end drones and rumbled tones that are conjoined to rhythms of amplified heart beats and drum-skins. While these low-frequency structures are similar to those of Thomas Koner, there's an oppressive tension which underlies the work of Mesa Ritual, highlighted through the albums finale that roars to a conclusion with a thunderous blast of infernal distortion. This is a very dark record, even in comparison to the shadowy productions that Collins has offered forth previously; and it's a very effective one at that! Limited to 230 copies or thereabouts.
"Procession II" MPEG Stream:
"Procession VII" MPEG Stream:
MESA RITUAL Voltaic Processions (Sicksicksick) 3" cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Very excited to come across a new sweet release from aQ fave and experimental guitarist extraordinaire William Fowler Collins! But don't expect the usual soundscaped guitar ambience from WFC this time! Mesa Ritual finds Collins teaming up with another Albuquerque desert dweller, Raven Chacon, for some heavy buzzing, face melting harshness. Cascading swarms of sizzling drones meet distant plumes of rising smoke in the wavering desert heat, as the red sands of the southwest swallow you into ecstatic doom. The label describes the instrumentation as "two large piles of highly magnetic instruments standing too close to each other, yet walking toward you". Huge geologic low end creeps up from the center of the earth as oscillators pulse and hover in mid air. A single track spanning over twenty minutes, the piece ranges from soaring walls of noise and destruction to a subdued eye of the storm, a calm moment of melodic reflection just after the 8 minute mark, that reminds us of a distant William Basinski loop drenched in a fuzzed out haze. But the serenity doesn't last long before the electric bleakness is once again unleashed and only subsides in the final minutes as the micro-epic dwindles like a campfire flame. Totally massive, harsh and somehow beautiful, Voltaic Processions is perfect for fans of the harsher synth stuff happening like Grasslung or Blue Sabbath Black Cheer. Needless to say this one is highly recommended by us, but beware, Voltaic Processions comes limited in an edition of 100!
MESCALITO One Path In A Million (Tummy Touch) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
MESHUGGAH Catch Thirtythree (Nuclear Blast) cd 16.98
"Autonomy Lost" MPEG Stream:
"Imprint Of The Unsaved" MPEG Stream:
MESHUGGAH Chaosphere (Nuclear Blast) cd 14.98
Cyberetic sci-fi Swedish metallers return with this long-awaited full-length, which combines the most brutal vocals and heavy, twisted grooves with some totally off-the wall sounds, particularly in the sometimes almost jazz-fusion guitar department. Some song titles: "New Millenium Cyanide Christ", "The Exquisite Machinery of Torture"...the latter possibly a good description of this band.
MESHUGGAH I (Fractured Transmitter) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. If I was in a technical death metal band, or a technical band of any sort, I think I would absolutely shit my pants every time Meshuggah released a new record. Or played live. Or even walked by me on the street. These guys are so good. And so heavy. It's really scary. Ultra precise riffing, drumming that makes the rest of us drummers wither up and run home to practice, shredding leads that sound like a quadruple neck guitar played by a four armed guitarist, and song structures that require a degree in calculus to unravel. So what do you do when you have out-tech'ed every band in the world? Well, you write a 20 minute song, that is so complex and technical, it's like the death metal version of 40 Agoraphobic Nosebleed songs strung together. But it's not just technical for technical's sake. No, this is definitely a song, granted a long song, with melodies and hooks, and catchy bits. They just all happen to be draped perilously over the churning jagged musical machinery of these Swedish shredders. So fucking good.
MESHUGGAH Nothing (Nuclear Blast) cd 13.98
If you are already a fan of Meshuggah (and why wouldn't you be) then the main question you probably have with their long awaited new record would be, how could they ever top Chaosphere. Well, the answer is simple. They couldn't. Or can't. This is nowhere as good as Chaosphere. But that said, Nothing is a wicked slice of hyper-technical /extremely fucked / rhythmically confusing death metal. Not sure if their recent stint on the Ozzfest and their favor with Jack Osbourne is the cause for the occasional nu-metalisms, but those minor hiccups are only a slight distraction from how fucking unbelievably INSANE this band is. This record is way more midtempo than Chaosphere but there's still plenty of 5/4 and 7/8 and 9/16 to keep all the tech geeks wetting their pants, and totally impossible guitar shredding from axeman Frederik Thornendal to keep the guitar geeks slack-jawed and just enough bounce to keep the nu-metal pit hopping and hopefully, for once, to see a -good- band get some MTV time and some MTV dough. If you aren't already a fan, get Chaosphere and have the way you listen to heavy music changed forever.
"Track 1" RealAudio clip:
MESHUGGAH Obzen (Nuclear Blast) cd 15.98
MESHUGGAH Raretrax (Nuclear Blast) cd 13.98
Collection of odds and ends from these Swedish masters of super-technical death metal. If you've never heard Meshuggah, start with their 'Chaosphere' masterpiece. But if you're already a fan, then this might be of interest. The original 3 song mini lp (originally released in a pressing of 1000 copies) appears for the first time on cd, as does their demos (which vary in quality). Then there are some different mixes as well as a video and a bunch of clips from various tours. Some of this is really good, but some is definitely only for the Meshuggah completist.
MESSAGE From Books And Dreams (Citystudio Media) cd 23.00
MESSAGES Mirage (Root Strata) lp 17.98
The Root Strata label hasn't been as active as they used to be, what with main founder Jefre Cantu-Ledesma living in Europe and then moving back to San Francisco temporarily and now heading to New York to stay awhile... Hopefully they'll get back to a more regular release schedule real soon. But until then, we got this to deep primitive drone record to tide us over and it's a stunner. Messages is the New York duo of Taketo Shimada & Tres Warren. We never carried their previous recordings, but are now kicking ourselves for not tuning in sooner. Even though Mirage is the third full-length release, this was recorded in 2008 before their first two albums and has remained unreleased until now. Four long-form excursions with a lyrical pastoral focus using an array of acoustic and electric drone instruments reminding us of like minded wayfarers Taj Mahal Travellers, Deep Listening Band, Date Palms and Portraits. Limited to 500 copies.
MESSES s/t (self-released) cd-r 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Looking for some pretty, hushed, gentle, folksy acoustic pop? Well, the debut cd-r ep by SF's Messes just might hit the spot. Their six songs are very intimate and sensitive singer/songwriterly along the lines of Elliott Smith. The 19-minute cd-r is lovingly packaged in a sewn paper sleeve festooned with bird imagery.
"Quiet Voices" MPEG Stream:
MESSIAEN, OLIVIER Oeuvres Pour Piano Et Orchestre (Koch) cd 15.98
MESSIAH II: I Am The Way The Truth And The Life (Labrynth) 2cd-r 22.00
MESSIAH COMPLEX Incomplete Trephination (200mg) 2cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The label calls the music of Messiah Complex "death noise" and who are we to argue? This Scottish one man merchant of deathlike noise offers up two discs, nearly two hours of minimal blackened dronemusic. Multiple songs or pieces or movements, melded into two huge suites. The first disc is downright lovely, beginning as a breathy shimmery metallic ebb and flow, a gentle pulse, layered drones, fuzzy and indistinct, throb softly in a sea of hiss and barely audible rumble. At one point the track downshifts from the hissy blur into some serious cavernous low end rumble, deeeeeeeeep and darkly ominous, it eventually builds to a wall of crumbling distortion, but quickly subsides and returns to a whirring shimmer. The second disc takes up right where the first disc left off, albeit a bit more ominously, and with some added noise, some industrial clatter, some reverbed metallic grind, the slow low rumble builds and builds and builds eventually erupting into an awesomely caustic freakout, that almost sounds like THE heaviest part of a Neurosis song, where the vocals are howling the guitars are roaring, that single second stretched into a long blurred blast. It eventually peters out, but in its place surfaces some sort of post industrial metallic Whitehouse sound, huge corrosive shards of jagged sound, walls of feedback, shrieking, moaning tones, a harsh vocal howling over the top. Finally giving way to a roiling backdrop of distorted downtuned crumble, over which guitars drone and whit and buzz and throb, a murky dense stretch of washed out softnoise. Fans of stuff like SUNNO))) and other minimal heaviness might dig this, especially if they're looking for something a bit more harsh and intense, without losing any of its hypnotic droniness. Packaged in a cool oversized screenprinted cardstock booklet, inside a printed black and white booklet packed with garish shots of bones and skulls in various states of damaged or deformity.
"Incomplete Trephination (excerpt)"
METABASS 'N BREATH The Life and Times of a Beatboxer (Bomb Hip-Hop) cd 12.98
METABOLISMUS Mauser Ok (Amish Records) 7" 10.98
METABOLISMUS Spriesswartsdrall (Amish Records) cd 13.98
Krautrock like they used to make, from these modern-day heirs to the glorious kosmiche tradition. The German collective Metabolismus has actually been around since the '80s, but this is only their second domestically released album (available last year on LP, but now on cd). Indeed, most of their other releases have been super-obscure rarities. But with their "Terra Incognita" album released on US label Blackjack a few years back, they turned a few ears around here, and we were excited to see the followup make it to cd. Wonderful, psychedelic stuff, mostly-instrumental explorations, experimental yet pretty, proving that the heyday of Faust and Can and Popul Vuh and Cluster and the like is not forgotten.
METABOLISMUS Sus (Amish Records) lp 26.00
These modern day krautrockers (they are from Stuttgart, Germany) offer up a new 12", the first in a series of "palindrome" recordings, all about mirror-symmetry, very conceptual. The palindromic aspect extends to the date on which it was recorded, 21.02.2012 (February 2nd, 2012, using the European style of numerical date notation). Also, at 45 rpm, the playing time is 12:21. And of course, the title is a palindrome too. So, what's Sus sound like? Well, it's a very soothing lovely abstract drone, we'll let them (or their label) explain their methodology: "The single sidelong track consists of one note on the vibraphone struck by a soft mallet. The same note is then bowed continuously on violin and the sound is processed with an envelope shaper, a narrow-band filter (tube-based) to accentuate some overtones, and some basic tape manipulation techniques like cutting/looping, speed/pitch alterations and change of playback direction. All rhythmic and harmonic processes result from the shifting of vibrato frequencies in the stereo panoramic field. No digital technology was used. The piece is designed to be played at any speed (mainly 33 and 45, but also anything from 16 rpm to 78 rpm). Side 1 plays from the standard outer grooves inward. Side 2 is Side 1 played backwards and plays from the inner groove outward..." Like we said, very conceptual! But also a nice drone indeed. And fun to mess with if you've got a variety of speeds on your turntable. A good use of the vinyl format. Clear vinyl, by the way.
"Sus (45rpm Side A excerpt)"
METAL BOYS Tokio Airport (Acute Records) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. After wowing fans of underground music a few months back with a long-awaited cd reissue of material by pioneering French punk-industrial act Metal Urbain, the Acute label is back with a sequel -- the 1980 album from Metal Boys, the band that Metal Urbain morphed into after their '78 break-up. After a few years of failed studio sessions and line-up shake-ups and random gigging, that is. But in 1980 leader Eric Debris and co. returned under the guise of Metal Boys with this album. What with the rise of New Wave, perhaps it seemed the the scene had caught up with them, but not entirely -- their music is way more twisted and dissonant and experimental than most New Wave pop that's for sure! And their new incarnation still retained the fuzzed guitars, sci-fi synths, and tick-tock drum programming that made Metal Urbain so great. The biggest difference was their new singer, a woman named China who sang in English not French (which makes some of this sound just a bit sillier than Anglophones might have thought about Metal Urbain). There's 19 tracks here, including 9 previously unreleased bonus tracks, incorporating hints of everything from rockabilly to proto-house to Devo-isms to industrial noise-scapes. Perhaps of special note are the two seven-minute bonus tracks from what was supposed to be an Eric Debris 12" release, truly spaced-out slices of minimalist Geiger-counter disco entitled "Disco Future" and "Outer Space". And maybe they did know something about disco future -- as we said before in our review of Metal Urbain's Anarchy In Paris!, this reissue couldn't be more timely. What these guys were doing 25 years ago is definitely the in sound, now. Sooooo retro-hip. Definitely don't buy any more Liars or Chicks On Speed or The Faint or DFA stuff, or anything like that until you've checked out these originators.
"New Malden" MPEG Stream:
METAL FINGERS (MF DOOM) PRESENTS Special Herbs, Vol. 3 & 4 (Nature Sounds) cd 14.98
METAL INQUISITOR Ulitma Ratio Regis (Massacre Records) cd 16.98
METAL MOUNTAINS Golden Trees (Amish) cd 14.98
Long before psych folk became the flavor of the month in the indie scene there was the Tower Recordings. A group responsible for some of our favorite drugged out psych-pop EVER, with such nice swirling textures, delivered with such a gorgeous touch. The members of Tower Recordings have forged pretty of remarkable solo careers of their own. Folks like P.G. Six, Samara Lubelski, Matt Valentine, etc. Metal Mountains is a brand new project that reunites Tower Recordings members Samara Lubelski, Pat Gubler (P.G. Six) and Helen Rush. There is a real magic between them as this is one of the most beautiful and mournful sounding albums we have heard in ages. Delicate composition stripped away of any fat, yet stretched out so nice with haunting instrumentation and a minimalist approach to creating a songs that make you sway so softly as you float away from all that surrounds you. It's restrained and understated without being uptight. A soft tension blankets the warm, moody recordings and we are left with a stunning and sublime set of songs.
"Structures In The Sun" MPEG Stream:
"The Golden Trees That Shade Us" MPEG Stream:
METAL MOUNTAINS Golden Trees (Amish) lp 23.00
Also in stock on vinyl! Long before psych folk became the flavor of the month in the indie scene there was the Tower Recordings. A group responsible for some of our favorite drugged out psych-pop EVER, with such nice swirling textures, delivered with such a gorgeous touch. The members of Tower Recordings have forged pretty of remarkable solo carrers of their own. Folks like P.G. Six, Samara Lubelski, Matt Valentine, etc. Metal Mountains is a brand new project that reunites Tower Recordings members Samara Lubelski, Pat Gubler (P.G. Six) and Helen Rush. There is a real magic between them as this is one of the most beautiful and mournful sounding albums we have heard in ages. Delicate composition stripped away of any fat yet stretched out so nice with haunting instrumentation and a minimilist approach to creating a songs that make you sway so softly as you float away from all that surrounds you. It's restrained and understated without being uptight. A soft tension blankets the warm, moody recordings and we are left with a stunning and sublime set of songs.
"Structures In The Sun" MPEG Stream:
"The Golden Trees That Shade Us" MPEG Stream:
METAL ROUGE Calling Winter (self-released) cd-r 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This duo (one half New Zealand, one half L.A.) played here last night, with AQ faves Expo '70 (we missed it, writing reviews you know, bad timing, list week, argh) but from what folks tell us, they surprised everyone by totally dominating, and entrancing everyone with their humid guitar ambience and shimmering metallic dronescapes. And hearing this cd it's not difficult to hear why. Metal Rouge is the duo of Andrew Scott (who you might remember as half of the duo Nest, with Nigel Wright) and Helga Fassonaki, who manage to work some pretty serious musical magic together. Plenty of bands do the drone thing, sometimes it's a static hum, other times it's a wall of guitar left to buzz and rumble, but it takes a special something to harness those sounds and sculpt them into something more, to coax emotion from them, to create tension, to turn sounds into actual songs. And Metal Rouge manage that task just fine. Much like Expo '70, Metal Rouge owe as much to old school krautrock ambience as they do the modern makers of abstract noise. Their guitars and various sonic implements, unfurling slow pulses, motorik throbs, deep swells, a lush low end that seems to let all the other sounds gradually sink into it, melodies drift sleepily, the notes wavering and slowly shimmering, everything bathed in the reverbed glow of some hot late night, lit blue by the moon, the stars glistening like streaks of feedback beneath the roiling ambience. These are actual songs, like some old dusty 78 dipped in tar and played back as slow as it will go, pop music rendered glacial and effulgent. Bits of twang and strum floating lazily by on a slow moving black tide, an incandescent raga like buzz always glimmering in the background, Metal Rouge is like some heavily sedated version of Popol Vuh or Tangerine Dream, their lush, sultry shimmer washing over you and transporting you to some mysterious otherworld. Absolute bliss. Packaged in a super swank box, with printed insert under the cd, a fold out booklet, a black and white paste on cover (all of them different) and sealed in a thick plastic sleeve affixed with a strip of tape hand stamped with the name of the band. LIMITED TO 100 COPIES. Each one hand numbered.
"Calling Winter, Apologizing To The Earth" MPEG Stream:
"Dying Palms: New American Century"
METAL ROUGE Ephemeroptera 01 (Seymour Records) cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Found a few of these lurking in our closet that we'd never listed!!! It's part one in a five-part cd-r series, here's what we said about the only one we did list, part 4, that pretty much goes for this one too: There's something strangely addictive about the skull crushing, mind numbing effects of harsh, droning nooooise. And while avant-noisemakers Skullflower and Hototogisu are perfect examples of some folks who do it best, Metal Rouge is quickly establishing themselves as likely contenders for the noise/drone throne. Limited to only 50 copies, we managed to snag a few, and we're glad we did. Seems like the duo is heading into more damaged, blown out territory, abandoning their quieter improv-y ways for blistering, electric melt-downs and cosmic sizzle.
"Nymph" MPEG Stream:
METAL ROUGE Ephemeroptera 04 (Seymour) cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. There's something strangely addictive about the skull crushing, mind numbing effects of harsh, droning nooooise. And while avant-noisemakers Skullflower and Hototogisu are perfect examples of some folks who do it best, Metal Rouge is quickly establishing themselves as likely contenders for the noise/drone throne. This is Ephemeroptera vol. 4, part of a five cd-r series being released on Seymour records. Limited to only 50 copies, we managed to snag a few, and we're glad we did. Seems like the duo is heading into more damaged, blown out territory, abandoning their quieter improv-y ways for blistering, electric melt-downs and cosmic sizzle. Complete with a cool drawing of a whirligig beetle on the cover, this cd-r will be gone in the blink of an eye, so act fast.
"Madly Whirling Breathing School" MPEG Stream:
METAL ROUGE Three For Malachi Ritscher (Root Strata) cd 12.98
Metal Rouge is an unlikely combo, as the two members live half way round the world from each other making music that does not lend itself to digital filesharing. Andrew Scott is the New Zealand citizen in the group, having worked with Nigel Wright in the past as Nest; and the Californian of Metal Rouge is Helga Fassonaki, who seems to be the globetrotter of the two with huge amount of exhibitions and performances on both sides of the Pacific. Andrew and Helga declare their intentions as being "concerned primarily with pure thoughtless formless now and its expression through sound" or rather, they improvise toward the drone supreme with plenty of detours along the way. Andrew's tools are the pedal steel and guitar pedals; and Helga's instrument of choice is a Persian dulcimer jacked up through plenty of FX pedals as well. After a handful of tapes and cd-rs, Three For Malachi Ritscher appears to be their first proper cd, with kudos going to ever impressive curatorial hands at Root Strata. From a strictly aesthetic / geographic axis, Metal Rouge is the perfect sum of its parts, situating all of the free-noise / freak-folk aspects that we love about both LA's Not Not Fun scene and NZ's PseudoArcana label. So, through the psychedelic damage of their pedal steel and dulcimer duets, Metal Rouge weaves a post-krautrock / Dream Syndicate atmosphere of thumbing drones built out of arcing layers of spectral tones and spidery pluckings. Tones glisten and vibrate with that unsettled narcotic feel of Pocahaunted's disembodied vocals and drug-drone mantras, but these are WAY better. The two also have clearly been listening to Matthew Bower as there's a few cut-the-power conclusions to the soaring heights of their drone stupor, leaving us hanging in a dizzying limbo at the moment of silence. Very nicely done. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!!!
"Anger, Awaken" MPEG Stream:
"Love, Awaken" MPEG Stream:
METAL URBAIN Anarchy In Paris! (Acute Records) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Nope, Metal Urbain weren't a metal band, they were PUNK, way back when. This seminal '77 punk outfit were basically the French answer to the Sex Pistols. Only, with synths -- a la Suicide -- along with their guitars (no bass), and a customized Korg Minipops 120 keeping the beat. Their urgent tick-tock metronomic rhythms, distorted guitars n' synth effects, and shouted French vocals (with clever and shocking lyrics, we're told -- their online translations via Babblefish are certainly bizarre) still sound great 25 years on. Metal Urbain are one of those bands whose legend has grown in inverse proportion to the availability of their recordings (kinda like last list's Record of the Week, the Homosexuals). Now, at long long last, all their crucial cuts are available again on this compact disc, so you can judge for yourself how rad Metal Urbain really were. With their noisy raw rockin' and avant-garde style, we'd say pretty rad indeed. Though their songs can't quite compete with the Pistols' classics, they match 'em in attitude and get mega bonus points for their use and abuse of electronics, which makes them ultra fashionable today. Really, what with today's electro-clash art-punk scene, this is the perfect time for Metal Urbain to emerge again. Chances are you're already a Metal Urbain fan without even knowing it... Punk history buffs will need/want this too (first record ever on Rough Trade!) but we think whether you "need" this or not, you'll probably like it. The 24 tracks found here, a few of 'em previously unreleased, argue for this band's unique charm. Who can resist such primitive drum machine action, sizzling synth blasts and whooshes, and sheer anarchistic punk energy? Of course they're brimming with punk snottiness (they're French after all). But their punk is tinged with proto-new wave (a few of the later tracks definitely veer in that direction) and psychedelic elements, drawing on the band's early influences from Eno, Fripp, the Velvets and Hawkwind! Though, despite the talk of "robocore", "spacepunk" and "terrorbeat" in the (lengthy and interesting) liner notes, they still sound closer to the Ramones, than, say, Atari Teenage Riot. Still, Steve Albini claims Metal Urbain, via nth-generation cassette tape dubs, as an inspiration for Big Black, and we can believe that too. Great stuff.
"Panik" MPEG Stream:
"Lady Coca Cola"
METAL, MIKKEL Peaks And Troughs (Echochord) cd 16.98
METAL, MIKKEL Victimizer (Kompakt) cd 15.98
"Memories" MPEG Stream:
METAL: A HEADBANGER'S JOURNEY (Warner) dvd 29.00
METALIAN Rock Solid (Heavy Artillery) cd ep 6.98
METALLIC FALCONS Desert Doughnuts (Voodoo-Eros) cd 15.98
Metallic Falcons is the collaborative project of Cocorosie's Sierra Cassidy and partner in musical crime Matteh Baim. Their debut is a bewildering yet utterly beguiling amalgam of neo-folk's earthen weavings, rock's electricity, cathedral-reverbed choral vocals and some as yet unpinpointables. At times Desert Doughnuts is quite reminiscent of reverential to Jarboe-era Swans in its broken beauty and spiralling dark dreams. However there's much more that rings familiar here than that aspect. Could it be the additional contributing efforts from the likes of Antony, Jana Hunter and Devendra Banhart? Why yes, it definitely could! Together they've crafted a most hauntingly beautiful patchwork tapestry that -- dare we say? -- on a few passages surpasses the individuals' solo missions.
"Airships" MPEG Stream:
"Nighttime And Morning"
METALLICA ...And Justice For All (Warner Bros) 2lp 25.00
METALLICA Beyond Magnetic (Warner Bros.) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
METALLICA Death Magnetic (Warner Bros.) cd 16.98
The pros and cons of Metallica's new album, pretty much off the top of our heads: Pro - It's literally AT LEAST a million times better than their last album, St. Anger. Con - Of course, that might not be saying that much, since St. Anger was absolutely one of the worst albums ever made. Pro - It's also much better than Load/Reload/whatever else they've done since the Black Album. Con - That also didn't take much. Pro - It's actually metal, which is what a Metallica album should be! Con - James' singing is still still pretty 'chain wallet' though. Pro - There's guitar solos this time around, they actually let Kirk play his guitar! Con - They're still letting Lars play drums. And boy does he sound tired on some of this. Pro - Produced by Rick Rubin. Con - Rick Rubin producing Slayer in 1986 is not the same as Rick Rubin producing Metallica in 2008. Pro - Definitely some decent riffs here. Parts of "The End Of The Line" are pretty badass ferinstance. We're also digging how chunky and speedy and thrashy the likes of "My Apocalypse" and "All Nightmare Long" get, amongst others. Con - Lots of 'meh', sensitive dude parts too. Pro - The digipack packaging is really nifty, with a die cut cover and cd booklet that gives a 3-D effect to the coffin shape depicted in the cover art. Con - "The Unforgiven III". That's right. III. Pro - Like old Metallica, most of the songs are at least 7 minutes long. Con - Most of the songs are at least 7 minutes long. Ok, enough. We were just trying to be funny with the last one. Lots of pros, cons too. And maybe Metallica, with Napster and Some Kind Of Monster and Load and St. Anger and haircuts and everything, have made it impossible to be objective about them at all. Basically, one reaction is that, hey it sounds something like old Metallica, and at this point, that's something to be thankful for! Of course, also at this point, if you want to listen to old Metallica, chances are you're gonna just put on Master Of Puppets or Kill 'Em All, or one of their other albums that are all pros, pretty much no cons... Basically, the diehard '80s Metallica fans here at AQ are never gonna truly be happy with these guys again, unless Cliff comes back from the dead, but heck at least the average radio-listener, record-buyer is getting something fairly metal out of the deal, more metal than Metallica has been in a looooong time. If we're gonna get a new Metallica shoved down our throats, it could have been a whole lot worse. (They've proved it in the past.) Now, if they'd have done another Diamond Head cover on here, we really might be calling it a comeback. That would have been sweet. In the meantime, we WILL be spinning Death Magnetic, mentally weighing record review pros and cons but also unconsciously air guitaring and headbanging... whoops, were we doing that? To the new Metallica?? Shit, maybe we DO like this! Oh and here's another pro: it's cool that Kirk is still rockin' the long hair, like he's still in Exodus or something, even though maybe he shouldn't. Getting close to the dreaded "Gallagher!"
"That Was Just Your Life" MPEG Stream:
"The End Of The Line"